CAN YOU LOSE YOUR SALVATION?
Can you lose your salvation?
Wow you have to be so careful what this apparently simple question actually means!!!
If you are a preacher who preaches "eternal security" it is important to know there are two variations of this theme, and if you are not careful you could look like you are peaching the Antinomian false gospel if you are not particular how you phrase it. Another way of explaining it is, that you could look like you are preaching "easy believerism" if you are not careful. Yet another way is - that you may appear to be saying that if a person chooses to frame his commitment to Christ after belief in a so called "prayer of salvation" (most people who say such prayers already believed on Jesus before they even said it,) you will look like you are saying simply mouthing a prayer you do not even mean saves, as if it is some one-off mantra of salvation.
It is important to specify which of two things you are actually taking about here.
1) Can anyone take salvation from you?
ANSWER = NO!!!
The most relevant bible verses might be:
"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Rom 6:38-39.
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." 1 Cor 10:13.
"He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." Psalm 23:3-4.
The most relevant verse from hymns might be:
"No power of Hell, no scheme of man
Could ever pluck me from his hand."
"Whoso beset him round
With dismal stories
Do but themselves confound;
His strength the more is."
2) Can you throw away your salvation?
ANSWER = YES!
"Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered to Satan, so that they may be taught not to blaspheme."
1 Tim 1:19-20.
"But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
"For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire."
2 Peter 2:21-22;
There is a big difference between LOSING YOUR SALVATION by having it taken from you (impossible to those who stay Faithful) and THROWING AWAY YOUR SALVATION, described as making your Faith a shipwreck in scripture.
3) Losing Fellowship.
One of the most disturbing aspects of this topic among Evangelicals is that the heartbreaking consequence for those full of the love of God, and speak the truth on this subject, can needlessly lose fellowship with others. These fall mostly into three types:
1) Calvinists, who always but always believe a person cannot lose their salvation. I am not bothered losing fellowship with Calvinists as their heresy that God creates most people (broad is the way) without the means, hope or opportunity to be saved is such an insult to God's loving character. (frankly I find long term Calvinists obnoxious and proud)
2) Non Calvinist people who nevertheless say "If you believe you can lose your salvation, it is a false gospel, as that means you say that your obedience was saving you in the first place!" These people are in reality Antinomianists. Usually these non Calvinists have fallen under the sophist influence of Calvinists in some way. These shallow theologists are failing to make the distinction between "throwing away your salvation" (the only way it can be done, as salvation is a gift, not earned" and the heresy that "staying in repentance and good works means contributing to salvation". So they are tarring everyone with the same brush and failing to realise there is a big difference between those two doctrinal statements.
controversially I don't really feel too grieved losing their fellowship either, as they are also accusing those who believe the true gospel as preaching works salvation, an obnoxious thing to do, rendering their own gospel false in so doing.
3) People who believe man has free will, but that God will always. by his Holy Spirit's guidance. turn all free will believers to repent before they die, and so are saved. These are people that I can tolerate, and I do not want to lose fellowship with them, as unlike the two heretics I described before these people they do not either 1) Preach Calvinist heresy, or 2) Antinomianism. They do at least preach how essential staying in repentance is, and thus not casting off your first Faith by long term unrepentant sin.
My view of them is they are brothers and sisters in Christ who are too over optimistic about the human condition, and the vast weight of scripture that tends to tip the balance firmly in favour of the possibility of throwing away salvation being possible. But sadly...... often they will break fellowship. I find this sad, as their state of optimism is sometimes a reflection of a positive view of life, in other words they are often quite amiable and friendly people but a bit naive in their over optimism and their breadth of scripture context. It is sad to lose fellowship with such people, when we all believe long term repentance is a fruit of a godly life.